Cervantes, Velazquez, Goya: though it may well have invented Modernism, Spain has also cradled the reactionary Catholic stronghold Opus Dei, itself something of an extension from Isabel and Ferdinand's fifteenth century rule. This is but one example of why contrarians consider the country the Capital of Contradiction
In a relevatory twist after the Atocha bombing last March, Spain rid itself of Aznar's reactionary regime and elected as Prime Minister one of Europe's most progressive new leaders, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The Spanish prime minister has called for an international effort to resolve cultural and religious differences between the Western and Muslim world. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said "an alliance of cultures" was necessary in a world facing conflict because of poverty and Islamic radicalisation. Mr Zapatero, at the UN General Assembly meeting, said the alliance could deepen political and cultural relations.But Aznar and his cronies have just receeded, not diappeared and it would be unwise to imagine that the contradictions coloring all aspects of life in Spain would themselves disappear too soon.